Measurement Industry Update: “April Is the Cruellest Month”

Twitter Attacks Meerkat

T. S. Eliot could almost have been writing about today’s measurement industry. Spring is supposed to be a time of hope and growth and new beginnings. But this year, maybe not so much. Never mind that the daffodils are a month late, there’s still snow on the ground, and I still can’t put my polar fleece away. Recent decisions by powerful organizations are putting a very wet and cold blanket on the hopes and dreams of many in the public relations and social media measurement industry.

Gorkana+Cision? Decision pending.

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority has put the merger of Gorkana and Cision on hold until at least June, while it considers the competitive consequences of the move. Given the brutal competition in the U.K. measurement market, I have to believe there will be plenty of rivals eager to testify to try to block the merger.

Live video is where it’s at—but no longer for Meerkat.

Back in the U.S., Twitter is doing some throttling of its own. First it strangled Meerkat, the live mobile video broadcasting app that was the talk of SXSW last month. By blocking Meerkat’s access to its social graph, Twitter has rendered Meerkat’s contact import feature inoperable. This move is hardly surprising, given that Twitter has launched its own competitor Periscope in that space.

The Twitter firehose has been Gnip-ed off.

But, of far more significance to the industry, Twitter has cut access to its firehose of data by third party developers, and will now force everyone to buy its data through Gnip, the social data provider it acquired a year ago. (Roxane Papagiannopoulos accurately predicted this move a few months ago.) Makes sense for Twitter, as it needs new revenue sources. Last year, Twitter made $147 million in data licensing, and selling Gnip’s enriched data will be much more lucrative.

Up until now, most social media monitoring companies set up their own data feeds using the Twitter API, in order to avoid paying Gnip’s fees. Twitter’s decision to cut off access for those companies gives a distinct advantage to companies like Simply Measured, Brandwatch, UberVu, and NetBase who are already partnering with Gnip. It will also leave many others scrambling to re-jigger their pricing models so they can afford Gnip.

Clients take note: Double-check your sources, and expect a few price increases at renewal time.

Cision buys ViralHeat.

And speaking of social media monitoring, it will be interesting to see what if any impact Twitter’s moves will have on ViralHeat which was just purchased by Cision. Cision has long relied on a partnership with Radian6/Salesforce for its social media monitoring, and it was logical for them to want to own their own social data source. We have to assume that ViralHeat already has agreements in place with Gnip, or else Cision just bought a very expensive pig in a poke.

Meltwater names Burson-Marsteller as AOR.

Finally, lest it be forgot: Meltwater clearly wants to ensure that it doesn’t get lost in the GTCR/Cision tsunami of news and marketing, naming Burson-Marsteller global agency of record. It will be interesting to see what kind of news and/or content Burson creates for Meltwater. ∞

Big, big thanks to re/code and Joy of Tech for the excellent image.

About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.